Apple refunds rush shipping charges

Steve Jobs with his new babyIt can be hard to wait for your new gadget to ship. I’ve spent countless hours fretting over Newegg shipments, whether they were for me or a friend. I’ve also spent countless upcharges on rush shipping to make sure I get my toys the very second they’re available.

Apple offered a rush shipping method with the iPad pre-orders for an extra $12. That’s not so bad for tech gear, that is, until you find out that standard shippers would receive their tablets on the same day. Did I mention standard shipping is free?

Thankfully, Apple decided to come clean and refund the rushed shipping upcharge. Here’s the letter you’ll be receiving if this affects you:

To Our Valued Apple Customer:

Thank you for your recent Apple iPad purchase.

Our records indicate that when you placed your iPad pre-order, you chose to pay for expedited shipping.

Expedited shipping is not necessary to ensure delivery. Apple has processed a refund for the shipping charge on your order. Please contact your card-issuing bank for information on when the credit will be posted to your account.

Your iPad will deliver on April 3rd in the areas where UPS offers
Saturday delivery.

You can view the most up-to-date status of your order at
The Apple Store Team

RIM looks better than expected

Blackberry phone lineup.For a while there it seemed as if every analyst was ready to sell RIM up the river. The company wasn’t performing well outside the enterprise market according to most, and the iPhone and Android were gaining speed at alarming rates. Not much has changed. The iPhone has slowed a bit and Android continues to skyrocket, but according to the latest RIM numbers, the BlackBerry brand is doing surprisingly well.

The company missed its quarterly earnings mark, but not by much. Activations are at an all-time high with 4.9 million this quarter. Annual revenue is up a whopping 35 percent. CEO Jim Balsillie sounded positive and said the company is, “off to a great start in fiscal 2011 and expect strong shipments, revenue, subscriber and earnings growth in Q1.”

Shares were still down for the day, likely because of the missed earnings numbers, but all in all things don’t seem so dire. In fact, it all sounds pretty good.

JooJoo only took 90 preorders, 15 of which were returned

Chandra with the JooJoo.The JooJoo lawsuits have unearthed some very interesting information. Apparently the device formerly known as the CrunchPad isn’t doing as well as expected. It isn’t doing well at all. To date there have been just 90 JooJoo preorders, that’s a nine with one zero after it, and 15 of those have been returned (which supposedly hasn’t been easy).

If you’ll remember, the initial run of JooJoo’s was supposed to finance a run into high production and provide the financing to support a legal defense against TechCrunch and Michael Arrington. For some reason I don’t think $44,000 is going to do that.

Part of the problem is that the JooJoo was announced in the same month as the iPad at the same price. Who are you going to buy a $500 tablet from, Apple, or some company you’ve never heard of for reasons other than the lawsuit brought against it because the tablet it’s selling may be stolen IP. I think we all know the answer to that one.

Source: Gizmodo

John Gruber calls WSJ iPhone rumors ‘lame’

iPhone 4?The Wall Street Journal claimed to have picked up on some info on the new iPhone, namely that there is one and that it will release to Verizon this year. Great work, guys. I bet no one else saw that coming. John Gruber shares my lack of enthusiasm about the report, mainly because it has no new information. It is, in his words, “WSJ’s Lame Entry in the iPhone Rumors Game.”

He doesn’t stop there, though. He goes on to list a few prospective features for iPhone 4, some very nice prospective features.

And they have no actual details of the next-generation iPhone. Nothing. Not the A4-family CPU system-on-a-chip. Not the 960 × 640 double-resolution display. Not the second front-facing camera. Not even the third-party multitasking in iPhone OS 4. All they have is that there’s going to be a new iPhone this summer, period. Thanks for the scoop, Yukari Iwatani Kane.

That’s not a bad list of specs for a potential iPhone candidate. In fact, it sounds just like a spec list Apple might embrace. I don’t know if Gruber knows something we don’t, but it certainly seems that way.

Source: Daring Fireball

Amazon wants to be your digital media hub

Amazon box.Amazon’s been struggling to keep up in the new ebook market. With Apple fast encroaching and stealing away publishers with the promise of more flexible contracts, Amazon’s trying to keep its hand deep in the content cookie jar, in some cases with threats. But Amazon knows that books aren’t the only frontier. As some recent job postings show, the company is looking to get into game download distribution, like Valve’s Steam.

The news comes from Lazard Capital, market analysis firm that says, “As in other segments of digital media, we expect Amazon to pursue new opportunities as an aggregator of online games, similar to Steam (PC), BigPoint (browser) and others.” It would put Amazon in an interesting position that no one else holds in the market, sort of like the Wal-Mart of digital media. If this is true I’d say it’s entirely possible to see them get into the video market as well, with some sort of answer to the iTunes platform. I know plenty of people that currently choose Amazon for music over the Apple alternative.

The news is backed up by claims that Amazon is hiring somewhere in the range of 1,000 new employees, many of whom will be software developers.

Source: MCV

Best Buy to have iPads on launch day

Best Buy lines.A few weeks back someone dug up some placeholder SKUs in Best Buy’s database that seemed to indicate the store would be getting the iPad. There was some speculation, though, since it seemed the first run of the device was going to sell out very quickly. As it turns out, the rumors are likely true. Several sites have managed to dig up Best Buy’s “Apple iPad Launch Playbook,” detailing protocol for day one sales of Apple’s tablet.

This is great news for anyone feeling impulsive about the iPad decision. If you haven’t already heard, the first round of iPads is completely sold out. You won’t be getting one from Apple on day one. It’ll have to wait until April 12th. That is, unless you want to hit up your local Best Buy. According to the document some 675 locations will have the iPad in limited quantities.

Source: TUAW

First round of iPads are sold out

iPad.This weekend brought an interesting surprise for anyone attempting to purchase themselves a nifty, new, Wi-Fi iPad. It’s sold out. You can still buy it, of course, but the ship date isn’t April 3rd anymore. It’s April 12th. In-store pickup has been removed as a shipping method as well.

This is a big deal for Apple’s new device. I’m still standing behind the statement that no one really knows what it does. Yes, the promise of apps and the advent of a color ereader are nice, but $500 is a lot for that promise. Will it be that much better than a laptop? We’ll have to see.

Most estimates put the sold-out round of iPads around 500,000. That’s a crapload of units, especially considering that none of them have 3G. I know some people aren’t expecting big 3G sales, but I’d bet the nerds of the world will pick up a 3G unit for the just-in-case insurance. There’s really not a compelling reason to not get one and plenty of reasons for it. Remember, there are no contracts, so you can grab a month of service whenever you need it.

Source: 9to5 Mac

Has GeoHot already cracked the iPad?

George Hotz with an iPhone.George Hotz, the young man responsible for the initial crack on the iPhone, may have put together a hack to unlock any iPhone OS device, including the iPad. Well, he thinks so anyway. There’s obviously no way to prove it until the iPad comes out and Mr. Hotz isn’t willing to give out a release date for the new crack.

The hack is a software-only exploit that allows jailbreaking of iPhone OS devices with just a simple click. Here’s the word from GeoHot himself:

The jailbreak is all software based, and is as simple to use as blackra1n. It is completely untethered, works on all current tethered models(ipt2, 3gs, ipt3), and will probably work on iPad too.

Don’t ask about a release date. You won’t make it happen any sooner.

There you have it. Wired had a phone interview with Hotz during which he said he may release the hack the day the iPad releases but that he would wait to see what the iPhone hacking community does. Here’s hoping for a launch day release.

Digital content providers team up to fight piracy

Picture 4Amazon, Apple, Myspace, Spotify, and a couple other digital content providers have grouped up to form Music Matters, an organization aimed at turning pirates into paying customers. I hate to criticize this movement because I definitely think it’s important to support the artists you love, but it’s just so hard to take the companies that hawk those digital wares too seriously. If Jack White were imploring me to please buy his albums I would be much more inclined to do it (except that Deadweather album, ugh).

The best part of the organization is a stamp that participating sites can post to remind customers that the site will pay the artists for the music you purchase. Oh wait, they’re required by law to pay artists whose music the sites have sold.

The site tries to grab your indie nerve with that pencil script seen on the cover of every Michael Cera movie. You can watch custom videos from a few bands as well. Other than that, I’m not entirely sure why the site exists.

Music Matters

Why Random House won’t be on the iPad

iPad running iBooks.You might have noticed that one major publisher is missing from the list of iPad adopters: Random House. You might think it’s because it doesn’t believe in the platform, or it has some dispute with Apple. None of the above. As the Financial Times has it, it’s because Random House doesn’t want to get into an ebook price war.

So let’s get this straight. To avoid a price war, the publisher is willing to stay with a company who requires a fixed price of $9.99? A company all the other publishers are glad to get away from? A company that is so desperate to keep publishers that it threatens to remove their goods from its store if those publishers don’t comply?

Yes. Apparently that. Granted, Apple’s model could potentially mean less profit per book for publishers because of the 30 percent cut it takes. It will make up for that, potentially, by giving publishers a little more control over their pricing and theoretically increasing the reach of ebooks. For the full story, head over to the Financial Times.